“Thessaloniki in French” events to highlight France’s influence in the northern city

A series of events celebrating the French language and culture have been scheduled throughout the year in Thessaloniki by the French Institute’s branch in the northern Greek city.

“Thessaloniki in French” will include a focus on French literature at the city’s 15th International Book Festival, bringing well-known authors to the city.

At another event, a series of stories will highlight French contributions in the architecture of Thessaloniki, while 17th century maps of the Aegean region, commissioned by Louis XIV and held today in several institutions, will also be on show.

French Consul General in Thessaloniki Philippe Ray, also director of the French Institute branch, said in a press conference on Thursday that events would highlight France’s influence in the city and had involved both private and public sectors. He mentioned, among others, the University of Thessaloniki, the State Theatre of Northern Greece, and others, who were consulted and collaborated “to suggest themes related to the history of the city and current events.”

French nationals were responsible for the construction of the city’s port in 1904 along the model of the Marseilles port, for example, while specialists from the French city will be responsible in part for the upgrading of the port today. The reconstruction of the city following the fire of 1917 was planned by a Frenchman, while France also figures in the migrations of great Jewish families of Salonica early in the 20th century, Ray said.